Nau te rourou, Nāku te rourou, Ka ora ai te iwi

With your food basket and my food basket, the people will thrive

Māori Programmes

Nga Koiora a Raranga - Yrs 1 - 5

Our wonderful stained glass window is used as a focus for this programme. Students will learn some of the natural history and the legends of the creatures depicted. Objects from our collection will be used to support the programme. Students will then make their own 'stained glass' images.

Nga Iwi Te Tau Ihu - Yrs 3 - 10 (enhanced for senior classes)

This programme includes the waves of migration, the naming of local iwi and their origins, local stories, and viewing and responding to artifacts and images that represent local iwi.

Tauira - Pattern Yrs 0 - 8

Students learn about the structure of the wharenui, the patterns inside it and some of the protocols associated with a visit to a marae. Students design their own kowhaiwhai and tukutuku having heard some local legends.

Kanohi ki te kanohi

A brief history of contact between Maori and European pre-1842 and an introduction to the New Zealand Company's concept of the Nelson settlement.

It will include an investigation of artefacts associated with needs of Maori and European and there will be discussion of the changes brought about by the introduction of European objects and ideas. Objectives from the Social Sciences curriculum will be met as students start to understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes. Dramatic presentations of first contact will be part of the programme. These will match curriculum objectives from The Arts - Drama where students will initiate and develop ideas with others to create drama.

Available at all levels.

Te Rito *New*
Harakeke (flax) inspires this programme where we explore the significance of this plant both historically, and what Harakeke offers our lives today. Understand and practice tikanga (cultural protocols) associated with Harakeke, and weave together as a group while we weave with this valuable resource. Suitable for all levels

A E I O U *New*
Empower students with confidence and competence in basic Te Reo and Tikanga Māori.  Experience Māori welcoming protocols and learn how to consistently pronounce Māori words accurately. Explore taonga (Museum treasures) through bilingual activities, before creating an art piece inspired by the taonga.  Learn basic Te Reo Māori sentence structures to complement the art creations – and for everyday classroom conversation.

(Storytelling option: There is an option to engage in dramatic re-tellings of local stories, instead of the art activity as the second part of this programme).
Suitable for all levels

Exploration of Taonga in the Lower Gallery
This allows the children to make connections between the displays in the lower gallery. This progamme is language based.
Suitable for all ages.

World Musical Instruments

Bolivian Dancing rattles made from the hooves of Alpaca. :NPM2012.48.19.1

Bolivian Dancing rattles made from the hooves of Alpaca. :NPM2012.48.19.1

The museum was gifted a collection of World Instruments by Richard Nunns and as educators we have access to them. We have designed a programme to showcase the collection and to develop the following educational objectives:

Understanding Music in Context. Students will identify and investigate characteristics of music associated with particular contexts purposes and styles in past and present cultures.

Culture and Heritage. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how practices of Technological Knowledge. Students will understand that there is a relationship between a material used and its performance properties in a technological product.

Available at all levels.

Nelson Wetlands - Glenduan *New*

Wetlands are very valuable commodities providing a number of environmental and social benefits including: 

  • Slowing down runoff and reduce flooding
  • Reducing damaging nutrients in our oceans and waterways (e.g. Wakapuaka Sewage Treatment wetland)
  • Providing fantastic wildlife habitat
  • Facilitating recreation activities

Wetlands are highly valued by Maori having great cultural and spiritual significance.

In the Tasman District, wetland loss in the Moutere and Motueka Ecological Districts (adjacent to Tasman Bay) is over 95 per cent. The remaining wetlands need to be looked after and where possible extended.

In this NZ curriculum based activity, Museum staff will guide your classes through your nearest suitable wetland and/or bring the resources to your school to explore this topic to the relevant depth for your year group/s.
Suitable for years 5-13

Click here to view an example on instagram

Walks around Nelson

City Walk - all age groups - Social Sciences

This walk takes you up Trafalgar Street and into South Street and to the Shelbourne Street Cemetery. Students move in groups with a parent using laminated books of photographs of Nelson of the past. Stories of the old city are told and students complete a worksheet as a record of the programme.

World Around the Corner Walk - Yrs 3 - 6 - English

This walk traces the setting of Maurice Gee's book World Around the Corner. Students need to have had the book read to them before they come on the walk. A teacher's guide is available on request.

Sculpture Walk – yrs 1- 8 –The Arts
Public spaces can be like outdoor art galleries. Our city is full of sculptures for you to investigate within walking distance of the museum.

Years 7 - 10 Programmes

Bones of our Land

This programme takes place at the museum and takes 1 1/2 hours.

Science - Planet Earth and Beyond
L2/3 explore and describe resources such as rocks.
L4 develop an understanding that rocks are one of the earth's resources.

Opportunities for learning include:

  • investigating the origins rocks and rock formations of Te Tau Ihu, eg. Boulder Bank, Farewell Spit, Mt Arthur, Caves in limestone.
  • gathering information by hands-on investigation of rocks. Developing ideas about texture, grain size, colour, density and use.
  • gathering information about fossils found in the Nelson region.
  • modelling rock forming processes and sorting rocks into groups, eg sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous.
  • gathering information about use of non-renewable resources such as iron ore extraction at Onekaka, copper and chromite mining at Dun Mt, gold in the Aorere, pakohe (Argillite) for tools.
  • Investigating Maori tools made with pakohe.

The Champion Copper Smelter

This programme includes a field trip to the Champion Smelter accessed through Aniseed Valley. The walk from the end of the road to the smelter is about one and a half hours.

Science L4 - Earth Systems
Chemistry and Society

Social Studies L4 -  How exploration and innovation create opportunities

What's happening at Tahuna Beach?

Tahuna Beach is barely 100 years old. This programme involves a field trip to Tahuna beach. Students are provided with photographs and booklets to help them interpret the changes that have taken place and the dynamic nature of a beach.

Social Studies L3 - Understand how people view and use places differently.

Coastal Processes in Southern Tasman Bay

The programme contributes to year 13 Geography

NCEA AS 90701 3.1 Analyse a geographic environment focusing on the interacting Natural Processes

NCEA AS 90705 3.5 Carry out geographic research with consultation.

This programme involves fieldwork at two sites on two days: The Boulder Bank, a full day and Tahuna Beach, a half day.

Murder on the Maungatapu

This walk contributes to Year 13 History

NCEA AS 90654 3.1 Plan and carry out independent historical research.

NCEA AS 90655 3.2 Communicate historical ideas.

This programme starts at the museum and proceeds to Bridge Street and to the courthouse before returning to view the Maungatapu exhibits in the museum.

Students are issued with laminated booklets of photographs to support their investigation.

The walk lasts about 1 hour leaving approx 15 minutes in the museum.

To Make a Booking:

Please call 03 5489588 or email We will discuss your lesson objectives and learning outcomes with you during the booking process.